DES: The Cotswolds, in southwest England, is one of that country's most popular tourist sub-regions.
TINA: Arguably, one of the most beautiful areas in this green and pleasant land, it's the distinct honey-coloured limestone used for walls, paving and buildings that has helped to powerfully position this destination brand in the minds of people both at home and abroad.
DES: This week, the sub-region plays host to horse racing's Cheltenham Festival.
TINA: With massive international TV coverage, most people would have made Cheltenham Town the hot favourite to win the unofficial destination branding stakes.
DES: But sadly, Cheltenham has failed to exploit the media opportunity to promote the Cotswold sub-region - the destination brand category it's positioned in - to an international audience.
TINA: In fact, one would have been forgiven for thinking that Cheltenham was actually located in Ireland, such is the strong Gaelic presence - complete with tricolour flags, Guinness stout beer, and the banter of the Craic in virtually every local watering hole.
DES: Having St Patrick's Day celebrated in the middle of the Festival has helped Brand Ireland pull off a great co-branding coup. But if Cheltenham isn't on your brand leader board, what odds would you give for Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water - two of Cotswold's thoroughbred destination brands?
TINA: Both Stow and Bourton have performed magnificently by not only leveraging their primary assets, but also incorporating those assets within their brand names.
DES: But my horse-sense tells me your money may well go on a rank outsider.
TINA: Little known Cirencester is my dark horse for the winner's enclosure. When this town donned the 'Capital of the Cotswolds' colours, it quickly became the bookies favourite, and is destined, over the long haul, to become the undisputed winner of the Cotswold destination brand chase.
DES: But as all punters know to their cost, favourites don't necessarily win. So what key things must Cirencester do to ensure it makes it first past the post?
TINA: It first needs to work with the Festival's organising committee and brand one of the racing days - Cotswold Day. Then it needs to persuade the media producers and editors to feature the Cotswolds as part of their Festival mini travelogues. Finally, it needs to embed a future-focus into the Cotswold brand - designing and creating a 21st Century 'Legends-of-the-Limestone'.
'Brand' the Marketect says:
"The 'Capital' word is one of the most powerful in the destination industry, with opportunities in many categories - from world to hemisphere to continent to country to region to state to county to district. But if a category you want is already 'owned' by another destination, simply create a new sub-category - real or virtual - and become its 'Capital' by infusing it with a unique big brand story."